Professor Mark J. Perry's Blog for Economics and Finance
HT: Brian Wesbury and Bob Stein
Posted 11:09 AM Post Link
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I think it's about time we voted for senators with breasts. After all, we've been voting for boobs long enough. ~Clarie Sargent, Arizona senatorial candidate...
I would rather be in jail in America than free anywhere else....membership in the United States is the supreme blue-chip stock...- Eldridge Cleaver
America wasn't founded so that we could all be better. America was founded so we could all be anything we damned well pleased.P. J. O'Rourke
Obama accuses GOP of fear mongering, while attempting to scare Americans:CHICAGO (AP) -- President Barack Obama asked skeptical doctors Monday to get behind an overhaul of the nation's health care system, declaring the system a "ticking time bomb" for the federal budget that could force the entire nation to "go the way of GM."He had his sharpest rhetoric yet for those critics, calling them "naysayers," "fear-mongers" and peddlers of "Trojan horse" falsehoods who should be ignored. He warned interest groups and lobbyists not to use "fear tactics to paint any effort to achieve reform as an attempt to socialize medicine."Also, of course, Obama often says one thing and does the opposite.Many people in the U.S. don't pay for health care. So, people in America who have health insurance pay higher premiums for those who don't have it. Also, U.S. health care is a luxury good, because of high standards, the best medical equipment, best doctors and nurses, etc. U.S. health care is a $2.2 trillion a year high-skilled industry. It will help expand U.S. GDP, not subtract from it.
Peak Trader,Have to love the irony of someone talking about "ticking time bombs" accusing others of fear-mongering. Dare one say strawman?
Hey Peak Trader & QT, you might find this Foundry posting interesting since its on the identical topic: Who’s Telling the Truth about Health Care?...The embedded audio/video clip is especially interesting in light of the recent Obama rhetoric...
All too often, medicine also "is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it, and then misapplying the wrong remedies."Most doctors are good. But, there always are those who finished at the bottom of the class and with the barely passing board scores. Do what Reagan said: "Trust, but verify."
If only Sarah Palin could have had a chance to tackle our economic problems. We would be home free by now.
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Benjamin: I understand your cheeky comment and why you made it, but you are basically stating that we were screwed either way, so stop complaining (given the forum you are on). I don't buy that. We as a country need to do better. To Heck with the GOP and Democrats... we need real leadership and less spending. We need a budget cutter, a budget balancer and an across the board tax cutter. The GOP and the Democrats both suck at some aspect or several of those.Vote Libertarian next election. Otherwise it may be the last one.
Libertarian? I wonder who really is a libertarian. 1. Forget gay marriage. Polygamy is legal.2. Your neighbor turns his house into a brothel advertised with bright, explicit signs. Underage girls seem the primary ware.3. Restaurants go back to the "No blanks allowed" days. 4. Your wife's boss tells her to put out and shut up about it, or lose her job. Too bad. 5. Another neighbor starts a baby-business. She has babies, and sells them.6. Pollution? Too bad. In an urban area, who can track who put that lead into the air, or other carcinogens? Your house plants die, and your yard is barren. It is like South Pasadena 1956 all over again. 7. The neighbor behind you stores nerve gas, in rusty cylinders. He is worried about an attack from Cuba.8. All major airports have brothels advertising wares behind plate-glass windows. It is Amsterdam all the time, everywhere. 9. There is one phone company. Period. Too bad. 10. There is one bank. Period. Too bad.11. There is one airline. Period. Too bad...well you get the picture.12. Television ads show nude models. "I will have sex with you if you use heroin with me at the Wonderlux Brothel-Casino-Drug Pen," on Mainstreet USA.13. No national parks. Okay, under libertarian "rule," all of these activities would be legal. Only government can break up a monoploy, and monopolies often can exercise power to crush new entrants. So don't say the free market will solve it. We know there are times when it doesn't. Maybe it would be a better U.S.A., a true land of the free. Probably not.
Benjamin, you could not be more wrong on most of those positions. Way to beat up a straw man.I'm not even going to waste keystrokes refuting your ignorant tirade point by point. You are simply stuck on stupid.Let me dismiss most, if not all of those ludicrous suggestions by pointing out that we libertarians believe in liberty, but our liberty is bounded by the rights of others. Look for all the cases where another's individual liberty is infringed and just cross it off your list. That might leave you with one or two things for which we can have a rational debate.Just stop trying to think and you'll make fewer errors.
Benjamin,Isn't argumentation about persuasion? I'm not a libertarian but the last post seems more likely to produce resistance to your ideas. Quite frankly, the post does not convey any understanding nor any respect for libertarians. It is often said that one should allow a man to retain his dignity. Should our posts not accord such civility to those who do not share our views?1,Thank you for the link. It is very interesting to observe the shifting positions of Obama on health care like so many other issues. At least with an Obama presidency, one can never be bored. The first link that you posted had a very similar quotation to the one attributed to Groucho. I wonder who really said it.
Hey, I WILL waste my time debating your silly points, Benjamin. First of all, my libertarian beliefs are mostly about freedom from a federal, not state government. That being said, I will refute your points.1. Forget gay marriage. Polygamy is legal.Who cares (at the federal level) what relationship you have with other people? Society should, the government shouldn't and should not stick its nose in relationships. Lets say I am not married, but have two girlfriends and a boyfriend... do you care? WHY? How is this different from a marriage or a domestic partnership, etc.?(I am actually married to one woman, never had an affair and its none of your business.)2. Your neighbor turns his house into a brothel advertised with bright, explicit signs. Underage girls seem the primary ware.Libertarians do believe in laws and do believe in not infringing on the rights of others. Prostitution may be made legal in different states and it may be made illegal in others (wait a second, there is no change here)! Also, underage girls are not consenting adults and therefore would not have the ability to choose this profession, just as it is now in Nevada.Any adult who would have sex with a minor would still go to prison. Period.
3. Restaurants go back to the "No blanks allowed" days.Government didn't stop the "No blanks allowed" days. Society did. Most owners would cower at the thought of the bad press and protesting that they would receive if they didn't allow certain people to use their services or products.4. Your wife's boss tells her to put out and shut up about it, or lose her job. Too bad.Once again, LIBERTY?! My wife would have the ability to stand up for herself in this position because laws that uphold liberty would still exist. This would still be a crime.5. Another neighbor starts a baby-business. She has babies, and sells them.This actually happens now. People hire other people to have babies for them. As far as selling the babies to just anybody, LIBERTY?! The child's freedom has to be considered. The government would have a role here too.6. Pollution? Too bad. In an urban area, who can track who put that lead into the air, or other carcinogens? Your house plants die, and your yard is barren. It is like South Pasadena 1956 all over again.Liberty?! Libertarians DO believe in correcting negative externalities. Its one of the few regulatory issues that they are behind.
7. The neighbor behind you stores nerve gas, in rusty cylinders. He is worried about an attack from Cuba.Externalities. See points on 6.8. All major airports have brothels advertising wares behind plate-glass windows. It is Amsterdam all the time, everywhere.Society wouldn't put up with it. They would say no to it. Government wouldn't need to shut it down. If enough customers kept it open and the airport was actually a private entity, a wholesome alternative to that airport would spring up. 9. There is one phone company. Period. Too bad.There isn't one phone company now. The traditional telephone company with its copper wiring infrastructure is a dinosaur. Technology is trumping the potential telecommunications monopoly. 10. There is one bank. Period. Too bad.How would there be one bank? Only if the government nationalized it. The only reason the existing mega-banks became mega-banks was because of the favorable treatment they received over the years from the federal government. 11. There is one airline. Period. Too bad...well you get the picture.Yeah, its getting old and is inaccurate. Anytime there is money to be made, companies like Southwest and JetBlue will happen.12. Television ads show nude models. "I will have sex with you if you use heroin with me at the Wonderlux Brothel-Casino-Drug Pen," on Mainstreet USA.The FCC is what prevents these ads? Or is it good taste of networks. The backlash from the Janet Jackson halftime show came from the public, not the government. The US is still more prudish than most countries. I think the stations would self regulate to avoid losing ratings which in turn causes them to lose their most profitable customers.13. No national parks.Why not? The problem isn't the parks, its the government control of them. Disneyland is in essence a national park. It seems to stay open pretty well. I just went to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and loved it. I would have been happy to pay a higher entrance fee to support the private owners of the parks.
Honestly, if you think that Libertarians are drug using anarchists, that's just plain stupid. I have never used any drug that is illegal in the US in my entire lifetime. I didn't drink until I was 21 even though most non-libertarians drink like crazy through high school and college (pre-21). I am a lawful person who doesn't want chaos.The market isn't chaos. It has its own rules that govern behavior. It does so at no cost. It is efficient. It destroys inefficiency. GM and several major banks that screwed up being good businesses years ago would be gone instead of propped up. The businesses that they compete against would be stronger and we would be better for it.States could still make laws. I don't want to live in a country where Californians live by exactly the same heavy handed laws as New Yorkers, or Floridians, or Missourians, or Iowans. I would love to see the country as a tapestry of differences because of what the locals have chosen.I don't fear laws. I love laws. Laws protect property and liberty.I want you to live how you want to live so long as it doesn't interfere with how anybody else lives. I want to live how I choose.I don't want the fear of other people making bad choices for themselves to f*** up the good choices (and bad) that I make for myself. The best success I have had in my life was from the disasters that preceded it. Without the possibility of failure, we all will get the certainty of mediocrity.
"Trig Palin could not have done worse for our economy than Obama"...LOL!BTW you have a good looking site RM...I'm curious about a 'potential' something happening in the international banking sector...Isn't public perception quite important?How many headlines like these could send potential international investors fleeing to safer, more stable markets? Banking group drops American customers in UK ahead of costly proposals to stamp out tax evasionHousehold Wealth in U.S. Decreased by $1.3 TrillionTreasury: lending by bailout banks fell in AprilI'm sure each individual headline in and of itself isn't enough to shake confidence but wouldn't a series of them over a short period of time cause some real problems?
1,Sarah Palin wasn't running for the presidency any more than Joe (lets send troops to Lebanon) Biden. What Sarah Palin would or would not do seems utterly irrelevant.Strange how we cannot actually critically analyse what President Obama says without such non-secateurs. Have we not heard endless complaints about President Bush from the same quarters? Should the philosopher king not be subject to the same scutiny as his precedessor?
Cutie/QT-I confess, my post on libertarianism might have been provocative. However, it is not intended to be offensive.And I must say, the proponents of libertarianism here seem confused about its nature. They claim there won't be nudie-sex ads on TV, due to social outrage. That's a laugh. There is no FCC regs on the Internet, and there are porn-sites galore. Money beats social outrage any day of the week. You think pimps and drug-dealers are worried about social outrage? The right lib. answer is "Who cares about hookers and drugs? It is free enterprise." The libs. here claim that laws prevent sexual harassment, therefore libertarianism is good. I don't know where to start on that. The right lib. answer is your wife can quit, and that is the end to it. She works of her own free will, on the terms prescribed by her employer. You can hope employers go out of business due to bad management, but they might be, say, excellent restauranteurs, but they have the hots for your wife. in the lib. world, your wife can quit, end of story. Or put out. They says hotels would never put out the "No blanks allowed" signs. Sure. Racism and sectarianism is easily provoked, as we saw in Iraq, when people started killing each other over the Sunni-Shiite difference. It had been illegal under Saddam to even ask a person's religion. The state had suffocated sectarian violence. Sometimes that is necessary.They say the market will prevent monopolies. Again, sure. Sure, a powerful monopolist will not crush upstarts. Sometimes no, other times yes. A money-making monopoly can absorb losses, while crushing new entrants--this is business history, we have seen it happen. Jet Blue will find its new route faces Bigtime Air jets offering $25 seats. Jet Blue goes out a business. The oil industry comes to mind. Economies of scale can push companies to larger sizes, then oligopoly and finally monopoly. It is often a natural course. Libertarianism makes an exception for pollution? Okay, then how is that different from liberal government, in which government determines what is bad pollution and tries to limit it? In short, libertarianism has many practical weaknesses. The rebuttals here fell into two categories: Simple name-calling, and self-contradictory replies. If someone there wishes to mount a substantive argument against the points I have raised, I welcome it. But it is a fascinating topic.
There was no name calling. There was no self-contradiction.
"Sarah Palin wasn't running for the presidency any more than Joe (lets send troops to Lebanon) Biden. What Sarah Palin would or would not do seems utterly irrelevant"...Well yes that is indeed the fact but why is there seemingly such fear and loathing of this woman by certain groups of folks and most of the MSM?I mean when I look at the election in Nov. of '08 and the four people on the two tickets, only Gov. Palin was the person with ANY real world government experience...The accusations made news, but with another dismissal of an ethics charge last week against Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice-presidential nominee has quietly been cleared of every ethics complaint filed since the torrent of allegations began in 2008...
1-I actually found Sarah Palin refreshing in many regards. Why am I "concerned" about her? I have a hunch she will be the R-Party nominee for 2012. She is running, and she is popular to the core, and she is photogenic. Hopefully, in the next four years, she will either hit the books, or assemble a crack team of advisers. Hopefully a diverse team (intellectually, I don't care about race or gender. They could all be Peruvian lesbians for all I care).S9omehow, I doubt that will (not the peruvian lesbians, but but she will either 1) read anything or 2) get a skilled team of advisers.She will make a facinating candidate. I like it when she says she is against socialism but everybody in Alaska gets a check from the government, and her hubbie is a union man. That her town needs to use public tax money for the very important purpose...a police station? A sewer system? No, a hockey rink. That is a necessary expenditure of public funds. She will make a fascinating candidate. For now, I simply can't imagine her handling an economic crisis. Maybe she will grow into the job.
"Hopefully, in the next four years, she will either hit the books, or assemble a crack team of advisers"...Hmmm, Benjamin why does Gov. Palin need these advisers and or hit the books if Barry Sotero didn't?I mean let's face facts, Barry Sotero has come across as an absolute dunce and his alledged education is what?I mean has there been anything credible to show us that Sotero is a lawyer let alone a Constitutional lawyer?Unlike Sotero (has Sotero ever held a real job?) Gov. Palin does have executive experience...Gov. Palin doesn't stutter like Sotero...Have you ever heard Gov. Palin talk about 57 states like Sotero has?All that being said Benjamin, has there ever been a candidate that didn't need some coaching/tutoring for the job?
No. 1: My understanding is that Barry Sotero (aka Obama) is in fact a Constitutional lawyer. He graduated from Harvard Law. The University of Chicago put out this statement (they are a rather conservative joint, BTW):UC Law School statement: "The Law School has received many media requests about Barack Obama, especially about his status as "Senior Lecturer." From 1992 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Barack Obama served as a professor in the Law School. He was a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996. He was a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004, during which time he taught three courses per year. Senior Lecturers are considered to be members of the Law School faculty and are regarded as professors, although not full-time or tenure-track. The title of Senior Lecturer is distinct from the title of Lecturer, which signifies adjunct status. Like Obama, each of the Law School's Senior Lecturers have high-demand careers in politics or public service, which prevent full-time teaching. Several times during his 12 years as a professor in the Law School, Obama was invited to join the faculty in a full-time tenure-track position, but he declined."I agree that Obama may not be a first-rank Constitutional lawyer. But sheesh, even just lecturing on Con Law at UC must rank him pretty high on the list. I would say the guy knows the US Constitution. I would also say these purely academic qualifications totally swamp the purely academic credentials of Palin. I was worried that niether McCain or Obama ever ran a business, met a payroll etc. I am the first to say, lawyers do not understand the economy. Is Obama managing the economy well, and has he assembled a good team of advisers?Time will tell.
"But sheesh, even just lecturing on Con Law at UC must rank him pretty high on the list"...Why Benjamin? What makes the University of Chicago even a remotely valid standard?"they are a rather conservative joint"...Yeah and the sun rises in the west...The U of Chicago is the same school that gave a domestic terrorist scum a job..."I would say the guy knows the US Constitution"...Not even remotely as my previous link showed..."I would also say these purely academic qualifications totally swamp the purely academic credentials of Palin"...How do you know Benjamin? Have you seen any source material to back that statement up?We have seen that Sotero is long on gaffes and short on substance..."That her town needs to use public tax money for the very important purpose...a police station? A sewer system? No, a hockey rink. That is a necessary expenditure of public funds"...I guess you've never been to Alaska, right?Oil money paid for many of the things you mention but a skating rink for winter in Alaska is a must..."Is Obama managing the economy well, and has he assembled a good team of advisers?"...Maybe you want to take another look at that Obama Economy again...
Benjamin,Chances are pretty good that Sarah will not be the Republican presidential candidate next time around. Look at the number of candidates who have been golden in one contest but completely are by-passed or fizzle in the next primary (Bill Frist, Bob Dole, Dick Gebhardt, John McCain). 5 years is a lifetime in politics. Sarah Palin is not quick enough on her feet. When someone throws her a curved ball, she doesn't respond quickly. Neither did Dan Quayle. The media senses this and is merciless. On economics, consider the math on the current president. Just like you don't like GWB, some of us are a less than sanguine about the present incarnation. QT is also a colloquialism meaning on the quiet, sub rosa. Sometimes the argument is more effective when it is less strident/ confrontational. Milton Friedman was a proponent of libertarianism and one cannot help but find his positions highly rational and logical even if one does not agree. It is difficult for example, to argue against the contention that the present war on drugs is fighting a losing battle against the law of supply & demand. Each of us would likely set the line for how much government services and regulations we think are optimum in different places. On that level, a libertarian has merely a different opinion on where that line should fall. A small business owner would have a very different perception of regulations than a unionized teacher who works for a public school board. The first directly encounters and has to dedicate resources for tax remittances, tracking sales tax, administering payroll, complying with employee standards, providing for health & safety, complying with professional regulations/liability insurance, etc. while the latter has to comply with a set curriculum. Is it surprising that the small business owner might conclude that there is too much regulation while the teacher might conclude the opposite?There is a similar divide along the issue of how much the government should be involved in the economy/business. The European response to the mixed economy has been a higher level of government participation in vast swaths of the economy (ie. electrical generation, natural gas, communication, airlines, auto & plane manufacturing; in France, 60% of the workforce works in the public sector) while the U.S. response has tended toward regulation. This difference is largely the result of a very different history. Europe, for example, sought a stable union to prevent the kinds of world wars that had devastated the continent. Does it mean that the European approach is wrong and the U.S. approach is right? Not really, it merely reflects differences of experience and priorities.Is the dialogue not enriched by the diversity of ideas? Do we not seek the best solutions through looking at all the options and considering ideas on the basis of merit? Just some thoughts on a sunny day. :)
"Chances are pretty good that Sarah will not be the Republican presidential candidate next time around. Look at the number of candidates who have been golden in one contest but completely are by-passed or fizzle in the next primary (Bill Frist, Bob Dole, Dick Gebhardt, John McCain). 5 years is a lifetime in politics"...Excellent point as usual QT..."Sarah Palin is not quick enough on her feet. When someone throws her a curved ball, she doesn't respond quickly'...Yes Gov. Palin has had a few problems but then again those Sotero moments surpass anything Palin has done or said...
Cutie/QT:You certainly have a sunny disposition.A couple of eons ago, back in college I took a class from a Professor Letiche (my memory may be flickering, as were the gaslamps of the rea.Letiches's idea was that in America, when movements "lose" or suffer a defeat, they do retreat and reconsider, but rather "make a point" by coming back with an even stronger version. Perhaps they "go back to the base."After Nixon lost (1960), the R-Party ran Goldwater (1964). After HHH (1968) lost, the Dems ran McGovern (1972). After Kerry lost, the Dems ran Obama.My guess is that the R-Party will in fact nominate Sarah Palin. Remember, she will be elected only by Republicans who show up in primaries. These tend to be true believers. I suspect "party elders" will try to nominate someone else, but they will be futile. Palin is photogenic, charismatic (to her base), driven (who has a baby and runs for veep?), and maybe has more street-sense than some think. I concede some of her commentary is of, by and for the lu-lus. But she has time to polish her public skills, and maybe get some good advisers, and maybe, maybe read some books.She will have her game face on for 2012, and I suspect her loyal base will push her to the nomination. I read Friedman copiously in my college days, and he was alive and well back then. He is a terrific thinker and explainer. Unfortunately (I contend) like all idealogues and acedemics, he had trouble noticing when reality played havoc with theory. We will see if Letiche's theory holds up in the next election!President Palin..it has a ring, you have to concede that. I am sure she thinks so!
Benjamin,I'm glad that the Anonymous poster went through list by list and responded to your original "13 Theses" of why Libertarians are whack-jobs. I felt that overall they responded in a similar tenor as your original post. I think most peoples problem with the idea of Libertarianism is that it presents difficult choices for those who are used to being in "control" of the country. You seem to have an issue with gay rights, hence the first item. Just what is the problem with gay marriage? Religion is the problem with it. Most of this country follows a religion that doesn't accept that. Most of those people cannot stand for people to do things they don't feel is right. Honestly, what is the impact to you personally if two gay guys get married? Libertarians can get past that and say "It's not for me, but go for it if you want to." As for your objections to the other social "ills" that could not be controlled without government interference, why would they not be kept in line if MOST of the people didn't want it? Amsterdam is a crazy place, but if you don't like it DON'T GO THERE. If enough people don't like it then it goes away. Clearly people DO like it and therefore it remains. Drug dealers and pimps would not run wild because most people would not allow it. Unless you mean to tell me that secretly this nation of church-going people are going to support them. If you make something that does not directly impinge the rights of other people illegal and punish people for doing it, yet it doesn't go away, why should it be illegal?I don't think the implementation of Libertarianism will ever happen in this country on a Federal level. It would require way more personal responsibility than many in this country could handle. That doesn't mean I'm going to stop voting for candidates that embrace it though.
QT,Thanks for a great last post there. You had one point that really hit on something I've been thinking about a lot lately."Each of us would likely set the line for how much government services and regulations we think are optimum in different places."This is exactly what happens, but in the current U.S. system we are increasing the level of Federal government and reducing the level of state gov. Granted, you can't have your own personal state. I really wish we would focus more on what happens locally where you have greater power and control. What is "right" in CA is not right in Vermont or Texas. Although, I haven't been able to find anything that directly says this I imagine that anti-Federalism is linked to Libertarianism.Anyway, just something that clicked with me.
"This is exactly what happens, but in the current U.S. system we are increasing the level of Federal government and reducing the level of state gov."...Well Patrick I don't know how much real energy is involved here but there is this: Increasing Number of States Declaring Sovereignty
1,There's also a few pages about it in last weekend's WSJ. Don't know if it made it online for free or not though. Thanks for the link, I'll check it out.
Patrick-I don't think most Libertarians know what they support, based on the replies here and elsewhere. As for gay marriage, I don't care. As for polygamy, I don't care. But if you are libertarian, you have to say, "Yes, there will be polygamy in America, and perhaps more of it. And we don't care. It is not the role of government to do anything."Child labor? Prostitution? A true libertarian says no role for the state in either case. Hence, child prostitution. A real libertarian concedes it is the role of the family and church to extol against this, but not the role of the state. In ancient Rome, some men fathered families expressly to sell their offspring into slavery or prostitution. In Pompeii, leading families ran hostels, and you were expected to pay for their daughter's companionship. You can't make this stuff up. It would all be legal again in a Libertarian Paradise. e had child lab in this country until liberal do-gooders got rid of it. Now, you want to be a liberal do-gooder? Sexual harrassment? A role for the state, in this one? Give me a break. You are soundling like a whiney liberal, not a libertarian. If you wife's boss tells her to put out or get out, she has only two choices, under libertarian philosophy. She might sign a contract before employment forbidding sexual harrassment, and then she would have a tort if harassed. However, since it would be the employers who determine who they hire, they would likely have employees sign contracts which stipulate no lawsuits under any conditions, or no job. The securities industry does this, BTW. You are compelled into binding arbitration before an industry body. You have no right to sue your brokerage, as an employee or a customer.On business monopolies: We know that economies of scale can lead to huge enterprises, and then oligopoly or monopoly. There is no assurance that an unfettered free market would result in many competitors for any industry with serious barriers to entry. In a libertarian state, who battles the monopolist? Rather face the truth about libertarianism, you hide behind a state's rights shield. In other words, states would quickly outlaw and regulate all this activity.That is not libertarianism. That is liberal state government--government that determines what is good for people and tries to enforce that determination. You have not in way meaningful way engaged the arguments I have put forth. You even seem to not understand what is libertarianism. In fact, you strike me a liberal. You believe you should use the state to control what other people do, even if it by mutual consent. That is the real argument in America, BTW. No one believes in limiting the power of the state. Who in the R-Party calls for the abolition of the Department of Agriculture? The argument is about who controls the apparatus of the state to benefit their backers.
I don't think...That's the only thing you said which is correct.You even seem to not understand what is libertarianism.As I said earlier, the less you speak, the less stupid you will sound, Benjamin. Libertarianism is not synonymous with anarchy and does not proscribe government. It demands maximum individual liberty with requisite protections for the rights of others. It demands minimal government faithfully operating within bounds prescribed by the Constitution. Your tirade was utter nonsense demonstrating not even the slightest understanding of libertarian positions which are as varying from person to person as the viewpoints of conservatives and liberals. Your monolithic view of libertarians, especially as a straw man, is pathetic!The absence of government would obviate the need for electing Libertarians to government, would it not? Doh!
Benjamin --Exactly! Your last paragraph is right on and is why the current system sucks. The apparatus is too big and is worth spending a ton of money and political capital to control. -----------------The federal government shouldn't care about polygamy. Or gay marriage. Or people shacking up. Or anything that is private. I don't want to do any of those things, but I don't care if you do, and I really don't want the government to care.--------------True libertarian? I think you are confused. A true libertarian is not somebody who wants the Roman Empire to return, as per your examples. A libertarian would not agree to slavery, that's an impediment to the liberty of the slave. The libertarian would allow the child labor that currently happens on family farms, in family owned restaurants, etc.Just because a child is not an adult doesn't mean that parents are allowed to screw with the liberty of their children. I can't just murder my own child. I can't just buy your child. That's not libertarianism.----------------------Sexual harassment is a role for the state. In most cases, a woman probably would just quit. A lot of the existing sexual harassment law goes too far. Quid pro quo is forcing your will onto somebody else. That doesn't sound like liberty.-----------------------You talk about economies of scale, but what about diseconomies of scale? Diseconomies of scale cause companies like GM and AIG to fail and if the government allowed them to fail, would cause new companies to rush into replace these oligopolists.In a libertarian state, who battles the monopolist? The entrepreneur. Monopolies would be temporary if not for government interference.-----------------------I do believe that the United States is supposed to be a country of strong states and a weak central government. The states should feel very different and have different laws based on the needs and desires of the population. Preferably, most laws and all taxes would require a super majority to pass.------------------------You keep saying that the libertarian posters don't understand what a Libertarian is, but then you accuse libertarians of wanting chaos, anarchy and no laws that protect property and individual liberty. The cornerstone of libertarianism is law to protect these rights. Government's #1 reason for existing is to prevent people from infringing on the liberty and protection of property. That's why pollution is something that is within government's realm of responsibilities.Stop saying that libertarians are anarchists, hedonists and only motivated by profit. It just shows your ignorance and your lack of appreciation of freedom and private property.
"There's also a few pages about it in last weekend's WSJ. Don't know if it made it online for free or not though"...Hmmm, your comment Patrick reminded me of what I think is a rather bizzare article from the Business Insider, specifically the Silicon Alley Insider: How To Read The WSJ For Free OnlinePatrick says: "Just what is the problem with gay marriage? Religion is the problem with it. Most of this country follows a religion that doesn't accept that. Most of those people cannot stand for people to do things they don't feel is right"...In the category of, 'for what its worth' consider this Gallup poll: “Conservatives” Are Single-Largest Ideological Group
Benjamin,Child labour is a product of economics. It was rising income (ie. economics) not liberalism that ended child labour in the U.S. and Europe. In the U.S., it was perfectly acceptable for children to have time off school to help with the harvest well into the 1950s. Today, farms hire mexican labourers that they couldn't afford 60 years ago. It would seem to be apparent that libertarianism represents only a minority view within the Republican party rather than the dominant consensus view. Isn't it somewhat disingenuous to suggest otherwise? Like any school of thought, there is a broad spectrum of opinion within libertarianism. Can't the same be said for liberalism? Let's take abortion that bulwark of liberalism for instance. Do all liberals believe in abortion? Do all liberals believe that every woman is entitled a limitless # of abortions? Do liberals believe that abortion beyond the 3rd trimester is ok? Do liberals support abortion of female fetuses by Indian parents? Do liberals support a woman's right to abort her fetus to provide bone marrow to treat leukemia or stem cells to treat Parkinson's? Do all liberals believe that doctors should have to provide abortions despite their personal beliefs?Needless to say, it is unlikely that there would be anything approaching consensus on these questions within a group of liberals. You have mentioned your concerns about Sarah Palin's economic literacy but shouldn't one also apply the same yardstick to the Democrats. If one is being strictly objective, would one describe the recent deal with GM, the most poorly managed company in America as 1) a good investment with an excellent ROI for taxpayers or 2) an example of economic literacy? Wouldn't it be fair to describe the Obama administration's "investment" in GM as an example of political rather than economic literacy? My money would be on Bobby Jindal. The only way one wins the presidency is with broad based support. Backing from the Republican party is not enough. How many politicians get 70% of the votes in an election? The reason that McCain picked Palin as a running mate had more to do with trying to energize the Republican party. The very qualities that make him an excellent senator (ie. bi-partisanship, voting with the dems, challenging his own party) just weren't connecting with the base of the party. Patrick,Interesting comment regarding the shift of power to the federal level. Is it a shift or the expansion of federal government in many areas of the economy?
Anonymous and Cheech-Okay, now we get another qualifier--in addition to state's rights and government, we get "minimal government." Which sounds like government all over again. I accept there may be a libertarian argument against child prostitution, as children might not be considered capable of rational or mature tought. Okay, let's say we could outlaw child sex in a libertarian state. (In Japan the age of consent is 14, BTW). But certainly, open prostitution, and drug selling would be the order of the day. I actually accept this, and would tax it. You seem to say that somehow you can stop your neighbor from operating a brothel, with bright, blinking signs? How so, in a libertarian state? Under what principle of libertarianism would you do this?For the good of the community? For the good of the mutually-consenting adults inside? Exactly how are you honoring that business operator's property rights? And sexual harrassment laws? Are you effing kidding me? This is libertarianism? And laws against having signs that say "No blanks allowed"?Listen: Even Barry Goldwater, R-Party 1964, thought that private business operators should be allowed to do business with whom they pleased, and largely how they pleased. If some guy wants to open up a restuarant that serves only Latins, and hire only girls that have sex with him, that's his business, in a libertarian state. You have the option of not patronizing that business. That was what Goldwater meant by "states rights." Time and time again in human society, we have seen that sex and drugs are a commercial commodities, openly bought and sold, when legalized. You don't notice all the liquor ads around? You think when cocaine is legalized, we won't have cocaine billboards, with smart-looking guys and gals snorting up? I accept this, and would tax it.You so-called "libertarians" seem aghast at your own Paradise. And please...and entrepreneur is going to bring down a monopoly? Using whose money? What airline manufacturer will risk selling a jet to Upstart Airlines, if BigStuff Monoploy Airlines will be might unhappy at that sale? And if Upstart finds a route and a plane, then BigStuff lowers his fares on that route below cost. This is history I am talking about, not fantasy.Please, if you want to be libertarians, then go ahead. But have the intellectual honesty to say, "I accept open polygamy, drug use, sex commerce, gambling, and monopoly. That is the price to pay for liberty. I do not want the state to intrude on private decisions or private commerce, or property rights."Pollution. I will leave that aside. But once you say government has a right to fight pollution, then the whoel Pandora's box is open. Then we have government determining how much pollution there will be. To sum up, some of you have bashed me, others have ineffectively engaged my arguments, usually by being self-contradictory.Is there a libertarian out there with the courage of his convictions?
Anon. 4:15,Well argued.
Cutie/QT-I think Bobby Jindahl sunk his boat when he bragged about saving hurricane victims, while fighting off federal regulators who wanted people to drown, or some such nonsense. The whole story turned out to be a fabrication. For now, my money is on Palin. The base likes Palin. Jindhal? What if Palin goes after him for being a secret Hindu? Will the evangical base of the R-Party tolerate a Roman Catholic, lapsed Hindu? Cutie, your long Canadian nose is sticking down into our USA, so long it reached all the way to New Orleans (where there are a lot of Catholics). But you don't understand the way we are. Ain't no Hindu-Catholic tall-tale-teller going to be the R-Party nominee.
Benjamin,It is interesting to read your perspective on this question. There is one thing that seems to be strangely absent: namely, any acknowledgement of the concerns of libertarians. Suggesting that others lack courage of convictions, don't know what they are talking about or should recognize the rightness of your positions and the sheer folly of their own, how do such arguments persuade or communicate respect for the concerns of others even if you do not share them?We seem to be going around in circles on the subject of what a libertarian may or may not believe. We have not even established a common working definition of libertarianism. We seem to have gone down a rathole.Maybe, it is time to return to something more germain. What do you think about the quotation which relates to politicians misdiagnosing problems and doing the wrong thing?
Cutie/QT-Libertarians are supposed to believe in minimal government, and that free market solutions are the answer to everything.It turns out to be a hollow argument, as everyone crafts exceptions to libertarianism to suit their own biases.I could live in a true libertarian world, possibly excepting pollution and monopolies. I am willing to tolerate widescale sex industies etc. to have more personal freedom and lower taxes. BTW, property rights is another odd one. At what point in time, or date, do you start honoring property rights? After or before we stole the land from the Native Americans? After? Oh, how convenient.
Benjamin, I'm starting to think you're just a troll, but I'll take a stab. First of all, libertarian does NOT mean NO GOVERNMENT.Libertarian != AnarchyIf we can't agree on this, there's no point in discussion.Answers.com says a libertarian is "One who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state" Minimizing would be the important word there. Check out Wikipedia, you'll see the phrase "broad range."You say a Libertarian should say "I accept open polygamy, drug use, sex commerce, gambling, and monopoly. That is the price to pay for liberty. I do not want the state to intrude on private decisions or private commerce, or property rights."and you're mostly right. I accept open polygamy, drug use, sex commerce, and gambling. Bring it on. However I don't see the state upholding property rights as being non-libertarian, and I don't see some minimal monitoring of monopolies as non-libertarian. Better have a damn good reason though. Your brothel example - I would support less restrictive zoning laws than what we have today. Pandora's box is always open. Humans are imperfect.
misterjosh-Your answer is consistent. Congratulations. However, I never said libertarianism equals no government. Others read that into my comments, when I accurately described a libertarian world, where monopolies and sex commerce etc. are commonplace. It is a world you and I would accept as a price for personal liberty and lower taxes. On monopolies, we hope that eventually competition will crack open any industry. That could be a vain hope. Some "libertarians" here think we should have publicly financed hockey arenas. Not me.Also, I said in a libertarian society, property rights are supreme. I think you misread my comment. I did make a waggish comment, to the effect, at what date do we honor property rights? Before or after we stole it from the Native Americans? Native American property rights, of course, represents another fatal flaw in the libertarian argument. We have to set the date for honoring property rights after the dates at which we stole the land. And then look the other way real hard.As for being a troll--who is to say, if it is you or me? I think I am the only libertarian here.
Benjamin,Isn't it also true that non-libertarian policies result in monopolies. The largest monopoly in the U.S. is a government monopoly, namely the U.S. postal service, which is enforced through law. Although, you assert that monopolies would result from libertarian policies, you have not supported this claim with any credible evidence. It is not up to others to refute arguments when the central claims have not been proven. With regard to property rights, you have a point on the native rights issue, however, the concept of property rights was a European concept rather than a part of native culture. The Pueblo indians and the Haida of BC had permanent settlements but many tribal groups were nomadic like the Cheyenne, Black Foot, Crow, Chippewa, Sioux, & Pawnee. The Iroquois were semi-permanent moving on when firewood, food, or game ran out or the soil around the village no longer produced sufficient corn. Many of the permanent native settlements were the result of European rather than native efforts. Can you really steal land when there does not appear to be any owner? With the Aztecs, it's pretty clear that their cities were conquered and occupied by the Spanish but in N.A., settlers cleared what to them appeared to be barren wilderness and in return, were granted land by the government. Property rights per se are a product of government just like contract law, fiat currency or national defense. History cannot be understood by applying modern norms to the past. How does one reconcile that Salem hung 19 people & 3 dogs yet had laws that allowed divorce and ensured that a woman retained the property she had brought into the marriage? In Europe, by contrast, a woman's property became her husband's. Can we reconcile progressive laws with medieval superstitions? Just to refresh our definitions, a troll is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion. At that rate, seems we can all be occasionally trollish ;-)
Cutie/QT:A really good read is the book 1491. In fact, there may have been larger and steadier Native American populations all through the New World. But disease, inadvertently introduced by Europeans, wiped them out. You ever wondered why buffalo herds were so large when whites arrived in the Midwest? Surely, over the thousands of years, Native Populations would have swelled to take advantage of such a plush protein source. In fact, they did, and there was not as many buffalo. What whites witnessed was buffalo herds running free and wild, growing by leaps and bounds w/o Native American predation. The Native Americans had died from disease. So, to a large extent, it is true, by the time Europeans settle the West, there was nobody home. In California, there were tribes, but they died rapidly under Spanish rule and the missionaries. Spanish land grants followed, and we trace ownership back to those documents, and not a minute before. You are right, who owns the land when the original occupants are dead, and not fastidious record-keepers? Still, all the pompous posturing about property rights often rings hollow, when you consider how vast tracts of land in the USA were gotten. Oh, and don't forget George W. Bush use of eminent domain to seize land in Texas. He wanted to build a baseball stadium on the land. The landowners did not want to sell. The power of the state was used, and the owners pushed off the land, with compensation decided by a state court. True story.Tell me about property rights some more.
Benjamin,First off you need to check your sources before quoting me on things I didn't say. Especially if you're going to get into name calling based on those things. After reading your subsequent posts I'm very confused by your arguments and am not sure exactly what you will consider to be an adequate presentation of one's position.There are so many different interpretations of libertarianism. Google it and I'm sure you'll see what I mean. That being said, of course the "libertarians" on this blog will be all over the board. Last I knew all Dems and Reps weren't always on the same page about every issue. Instead, being in one party or being a conservative or liberal means that you have a general philosophy towards the role of government. I will apply MY interpretation of Lib philosophies toward government as they relate to your original "11 Theses". You can then call me a liberal (pretty funny actually) or whatever you like, but I'm pretty sure that a liberal would never ever support any of my solutions.1. See earlier post, I don't care about gay marriage or how many wives you are able to marry. Beyond a moral stance, why should anyone care?2. This one is about property rights and individual rights. IF we became a libertarian society, we would have to respect existing property rights to gain any traction. Why would zoning ordinances be outlawed automatically? Wouldn't that impinge on the property rights we libertarians hold so dear? I say that your neighbor has the right to sell sex to people who come to his house, but to turn his house into the equivalent of a front lawn sex-show seems to infringe on the neighbors right to their own quiet-enjoyment of property rights. Why must a libertarian society bow to the whims of the most obnoxious or flambouyant interests?Child prostitution you already conceded as being "okay" to outlaw as a libertarian, so we're agreed that below a certain age you don't yet have the right to choose things for yourself. But I don't see how an underage girl that didn't want to do that could be forced to, individual freedom remember?3. There is de facto racial prejudice even now (gasp!), but I still don't see why you feel that this has to happen in a lib society. If a business wants to serve only one segment of the population, then let it. It will falter and be a non-issue.4. As for sexual harassment, where is this unlimited supply of women willing to be harassed coming from? If this happens repeatedly then all the pretty women won't work there, they will only hire ugly women and people will stop going? Or, no one will want to work there because they know that it's part of the deal. You seem to want to apply industrial revolution era circumstances to the modern situation. People have a choice and know it.5. Again, here we go making decisions for the babies who can't make a decision for themselves. However, this already happens with adoptions. If you're suggesting the babies are sacrificed or something terrible, then no, why would that be allowed in the name of "I do what I want"? Otherwise, other people get to have a baby and enjoy it.6. Let the pollution fly, social responsibility is bigger than you think and in the absence of a government enforcing things there would be citizen groups funded privately camped out protesting and boycotting them. Now I'm not sure what the "appropriate" libertarian method of regulating corporations is in your opinion, but I would tender thatcorporations must get operating approval from county officials. Sure, there's a little government involved there but those officials can't make a career out of it and would give people a direct connection to control corporate influence over their lives. This would also seriously hamper malevolent monopoly activity.
7. If the result of your actions will directly impact someone else then you will be responsible. Don't prevent someone from having nerve gas, but only if they can control it from hurting someone else. Honestly, where do you come up with this stuff? Should people be able to store radioactive waste in a milk jug in their backyard? Why does every example you give of protecting individual freedom result in impinging on someone elses?8. Again, let them run it, but why do you insist on the prostitute being able to show off the goods in front of everyone? There are people who don't want to see it, and they shouldn't HAVE to see it. There should be no reason why they can't if they want to. By the way, have you even been to A-dam? It took me a day to happen past the first window show there. It was NOT everywhere.9-11. See last part of #6 above.12. Use a v-chip type device. People who don't want to see that can turn it off. Simple.13. Yep, those are gone too, people could form a coalition and buy the land and charge admission.Maybe it's not the classic libertarian response (whatever that is), but I doubt anyone here would say that my views are aligned with the Reps or Dems agenda. It takes power away from them and gives it to us, the people. It's very local and strives to keep people involved in decisions that affect them. They will quickly see the results of bad or good decisions. Anyway, that's my stance. By the way, how did you have time to write all those responses?!? I had to take notes and a couple hours to put all this together. You're a quick thinker/typer, I'll give you that. Thanks for the rousing discussion. Is this a record for number of off-topic posts on Mark's blog?
Seems the left and right can agree on something: government seizure of private land. Interestingly Sandra Day O'Connor dissented along with Scalia and Renquist while Kennedy sided with the majority of liberal appointees. Estimates of pre-1492 populations vary tremendously nor do we have any idea how many buffalo there were. Grassland ecosystems support the largest herds in the world numbering in the millions; grasslands can support 4 - 5 times as much meat on the hoof in native grazers as is possible with European cattle (Source: The Living Planet by Sir David Attenborough). One would expect that an explosion in the buffalo population would lead to habitat degradation and I am not aware of any evidence of this. 1491 is not without controversy. Like Reagan used to say, "trust but verify".
Benjamin said:"Oh, and don't forget George W. Bush use of eminent domain to seize land in Texas."in his declarations of how libertarians do things that are inconsistent. GWB is not even close to a libertarian. He has SOME libertarian beliefs, but that dude is a Republican. You threw him into the conversation to be incendiary, the same as Palin. While both were closer to libertarians than Gore or Edwards, that's like saying that those dalmatians are closer to being jaguars than those collies because dalmatians and jaguars both have spots. Libertarians are extremely socially liberal to the point of being permissive. Live and let live. Libertarians are extremely fiscally conservative to the point of eliminating most government in favor of market forces.I don't see many Democrats who are as socially liberal (read: permissive) as most libertarians and I don't see many Republicans who are as fiscally conservative as most libertarians.
Patrick and others:Okay last try, and i enjoyed the non-bash posts.If you say you can regulate, say, a brothel and its bright blinking explicit lights of advertising, on what principle do you base that regulation?You have to choose a principle.Community standards? Adjacent property values (although they might go up or down)?Okay, community standards is one answer given above. Now, we have accepted the principle that "community standards" can dictate property use. Upon that principle, government can control use of property anywhere in a city. That is liberal government with a capital "L," and in fact what we have in almost every city in the U.S. We could "community standards a gun shop, a liquor store, almost anything out of a city.We have a majority--the government--controlling what you do with your land.Nerve gas? On what principle do you base your control of your neighbor's nerve gas? "Community safety." Okay, on that basis, government can control almost anything, including the sale of weapons. On what principle do you outlaw the use of heroin, crack cocaine, etc. "Endangerment of others, who become victims of crimes, or to save the person using the drugs.' You see where this is heading, and has headed. People with political power then decide what is community standard etc, what is safe etc.But hey, we can beat our chests and say we are libertarians. We will never have to face the music of what a real libertarian state would be like. Gambling in Vegas? Sex in Pattaya? Pollution in Beijing? Drugs in Amsterdamn? You get the picture.Patrick: I wrote a lot today as I am just a little old man with tiem to fill. That's why.
Benjamin,I guess this will be my last post as well as it seems that either I'm not getting your point or you aren't getting mine and I'm not sure I can articulate it any better than I have. Based on my understanding of libertarianism and how I'm applying it, individual rights and freedoms are stressed as is the minimization of government. The brothel "regulation" applies to the limit of cramming something down another's throat. I don't think that libertarians espouse the elevation of ones rights at the expense of another's rights. If so, then clearly I am wrong. I always understood libertarianism to mean that I could be free to act as I choose and do what I please as long as that is not at the expense of someone else. Your example of nerve gas is an interesting one in that it only represents a possible threat to others safety. In my understanding a liberal gov (like the one we have), policy will say that you can't have nerve gas because you could kill someone with it and it represents a public threat. I see a libertarian gov saying that you can't have nerve gas if you're going to keep it in an old drum and store it correctly. There's a BIG difference there. THe libertarian gov says, "we trust you to make the right decision about this stuff, but if you're going to be reckless about it then you give up the right to have it". I don't see how that is liberal at all. I don't think libertarians (besides the anarchist ones) would disagree that reckless endangerment is a right to be defended by libertarian ideals. Now that I've written that last sentence it seems to sum up my opposition to your arguments for a true libertarian society. You seem to want to defend the right of people to deliberately risk harm to others. If I'm wrong about "true" libertarianism, then fine, but I think even a hybrid version of it (like I've laid out in these discussions) is better than what we have, and is not self-contradicting. So many politicians these days have to have things all one way or the other. Is any answer in reality a black/white, on/off one? Why must we spurn all of an ideal if the logical extremes do not always appeal to us? It's not science, and doesn't need to fit inside a neat little box containing one or two rules that guide everything.That's about it for me, I'm exhausted now. I don't think either of us is going to change our minds at this point. See you on another post Ben!
Benjamin,My husband is a libertarian so I have these responses to your most recent post. Why would one regulate a brothel at all? If a brothel opens next to an elementary school, a church, or in a suburban community, do you imagine that the local community would welcome its presence and rush to patronize the establishment? The customer determines the business which is why red light districts aren't generally located in Mayberry. A porn shop named Exotica opened in my small rural town. Many residents objected to the store with its 2 foot high lettering and scantily clad manequins. After several months of letters to the editor, I wrote a letter outlining the fact that the business was allowed under the existing zoning bylaws and that continued letters were providing the business with free advertising. (You guessed it; no more free advertising) Funny thing. The store changed its name to "The Love Shop" and changed its product line to attract couples. This feat was accomplished without any regulation whatever.Why would one need to outlaw drugs? Legalize and treat people for addiction. What advantage does the U.S. have being the world's #1 jailer? Interdiction has merely served to raise the price and thereby making trafficking even more lucrative.Nerve gas? What reason would any neighbour have for buying and storing nerve gas? You'all live next to an al Quaeda terrorist cell? Why would setting limits of any kind constitute liberalism?My husband would just like the government's hand out of his back pocket. He has no problem with someone cutting down trees on their property and putting in a golf course. It's their land and their trees. On monopolies, he says we have them anyway so what's the difference? WRT any regulations at all constituting liberalism, he believes this to be a specious and illogical argument.He believes that you are mischaracterizing libertarianism with the absense of any laws or standards of any kind rather than considering the possibility that perhaps, there are areas where regulation has become excessive. Isn't there any regulation that you have an issue with? How about the U.S. tax code? Should it take people days to fill out a tax form?
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Dr. Mark J. Perry is a professor of economics and finance in the School of Management at the Flint campus of the University of Michigan.
Perry holds two graduate degrees in economics (M.A. and Ph.D.) from George Mason University near Washington, D.C. In addition, he holds an MBA degree in finance from the Curtis L. Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. In addition to a faculty appointment at the University of Michigan-Flint, Perry is also a visiting scholar at The American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.
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